Chelsea host BATE Borisov in Group L of the Europa League on Thursday night.
Here, Press Association Sport analyses their little-known Belarusian opponents.
BATE’s form is similarly encouraging to Chelsea’s. They have won six of their past eight fixtures, losing the other two. Though it is perhaps significant that one of those losses was in the Europa League and came courtesy of a 4-1 defeat at home to PAOK Salonika.
Thursday’s match is BATE’s 34th of the season. Their first came on April 1, meaning they have been involved in regular competition for the past six months. Incidentally, it is by the six-month point of the season that many of Europe’s other leagues have had their mid-season breaks.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Alexander Hleb started his career at BATE before his transfer to Stuttgart in 2000. They are not only Belarus’ reigning champions, their 2017 title success was their 12th in succession.
Ones to watch
BATE have evolved into a team that shares the goalscoring burden in the absence of a prolific finisher. So far this season, midfielders Mirko Ivanic, Maksim Skavysh, Igor Stasevich and striker Nikolai Signevich respectively have six, seven, seven and six league goals.